The last leg of this brutal – yet mildly successful – four-game road trip comes to a stop in Oklahoma City as the Portland Trail Blazers (31-11) faced their archrival Thunder (32-10) at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
On the fourth game in five nights, the Blazers at the start of the match made the Thunder look like the ones with weary legs, eventually taking a double-digit lead. But lo and behold, Kevin Durant is very good at basketball and leads the Thunder in the fourth to beat Portland 105-97 and scoring 46 points in the process.
Due to conflicting schedules tonight with the 5pm start during which I was in lecture and got home late, we will forego the normal recap tonight and get down to stats and thoughts.
Who was Hot
- Kevin Durant…he’s number one on the MVP list for a reason, and you really can’t be angry or be surprised. His January has been smoldering: tonight marks his fourth game with 40+ points. He owned the final period and the Blazers couldn’t contain him, even with Nicolas Batum’s long arms in his face. Durant finishes with 46 points, five rebounds, four assists and 6-7 three-pointers on 17-25 makes. That’s insane.
- LaMarcus Aldridge leads the Blazers with 29 points, 16 rebounds on 12-26 makes and 5-8 from the free throw line. His only real blemish is going ice-cold in the fourth while OKC was making their run and couldn’t match.
- Wesley Matthews follows with 21 points, four rebounds, four assists and 4-8 from three.
- Robin Lopez took Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka in the paint and emerges with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
- Mo Williams was the hot Blazer in the first half and everything looked like sunshine and roses, but he disappeared in the second en route to 13 points, nine assists and a couple of late turnovers that ultimately handed Durant the three ball.
- Rebounds: Tied at 45
- Assists: Blazers 23 – Thunder 16
- Points in the paint: Blazers 38 – Thunder 36
Who was Not
- You really can’t place blame on this loss on anyone. This Spurs-Mavs-Rockets-Thunder trip could’ve been disastrous with blood everywhere, but scraping a 2-2 record is nothing to be sad about. Just be glad it’s in the rearview mirror.
- Nicolas Batum was given a bigger splint for that broken finger and was suggested he shouldn’t even have played tonight, he knew his game was important and played anyway but when 6’11” Durant is fading away, not much that Batum could do to stop it.
- Surprisingly enough, Portland and OKC are the top teams in the league at the free throw line, and neither had a great night from the line: 10-16 for the Blazers and 11-17 for the Thunder. It was a night where clutch guys (Lillard, Matthews, Durant even Derek Fisher) were having difficulty.
- The next time these two meet again, it’ll be the Thunder visiting the Moda Center on Feburary 11, not that far away. If bad blood was brewing tonight, wait till April.
Wondering how Greg Oden is doing? Here he is blocking Jeff Green’s attempt as the Heat won over the Celtics earlier.
Can’t take this loss too hard. Blazers fly home for a day of rest and get ready to face the Denver Nuggets on another TNT stint this Thursday at the Moda Center.